How to Name a Baby

Growing a new life is hard, but one of the hardest parts for me was coming up with a name. It is such a huge responsibility that I was in a bit of shock that I suddenly had this responsibility.  As a child, I had a golden retriever named Goldie and a cat that walked into our garage during a storm named Stormy.  My husband and I had a black fuzzy cat named Fuzz.  How am I supposed to name a human? Am I really a good person to have this responsibility? I feel like there is not a good track record!  Even worse is this needs to be a name that will work for all stages of life and my husband and I have to agree on a name.  We used several strategies that worked for us for narrowing down a name.  We are not finalizing the name until our baby is born, but we have a good idea of what we will use.  

Keeping track of name options

We wanted a central location where my husband and I could both input names and strike things off the list as necessary.  Like a lot of people, we have our phones attached to us, so we used google Keep notes on our phones.  We made one list for Boy names and one list for Girl names.

Deciding priorities

We decided that is was very important to us that a family name was incorporated into either the first name or the middle name.  So the first thing we did on the list was add the family names that we wanted to be included, making sure we talked about the family members that had passed away and that we wanted to possibly honor with our child’s name.  

Adding names

We both brainstormed and suggested names.  If the other person liked the name we would add it to the list.  We went through various lists of baby names and had one person suggest names. If they liked it, the other would write it down.  We are both slightly-nerdy so we looked up nerdy baby names as well historically significant names.  

Eliminating Names

Avoiding a top 10 name was important to us as well.  As I’m sure you are aware Jennifer is a very common name.  It never bothers me much, but there are often several variations of Jennifer and Jen in a group and I decided I would rather have something slightly more unusual for our child.  We went through the list of top 100 names and removed the top 20 or so and discussed very carefully any names in the remaining top 100.  

Finalizing names

There was a family name that we felt was right for the first name, but it was not quite something that we wanted to use, due to popularity.  We ended up looking at lots of lists of variations.  I think a full third of our baby list names were variations of this name.  We went through several times crossing off names that didn’t seem right. We also made a separate list for first name and middle name and kept trying different variations. Our final choice was one that we kept coming back to numerous times.  We kept crossing it off the list for various reasons and then adding it back on. Eventually, I decided we clearly felt strongly about this name and talked my husband into it.   

We still have about 3 weeks until baby arrives. We will see how we feel about the name once we meet her.  Right now the only people who know about the name are our parents and siblings with a disclaimer that the name is not set in stone. This is how I discovered that my parents had a different name intended for me and changed their mind after I was born!  I will say that while the first name is not super common, the middle name is.  We considered changing our minds when we discovered it.  (I did not follow my own steps and looked up the top 100 names a bit late in the process). But the middle name has both historical and nerdy value.  So that is how we have decided what to name our baby, now we just need to meet her! 


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